Who is the outlaw Mr Big?

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On Sahara Reporters – a social media news platform that specialises in disseminating information about Nigerian affairs, there is a new video clip which was recently issued by the high command of Boko Haram – the outlaw organisation that appears to have the aim of creating an Islamic fundamentalist state that spreads as far and widely as possible, starting from the Lake Chad region.

One of the highlights of the video is a section featuring some of the females who were abducted from a boarding school for girls several years ago. They are young women now. Several of them have babies and they seem to have accepted the way things have turned out for them, as they don’t appear to be distressed, or even under any form of pressure to express their views as stated in the video.

In essence, these women are reported to be saying that they have no wish to return to their previous communities, as they are well provided for in the Boko Haram enclave.

Some might think that this statement from the women is a manifestation of Stockholm syndrome, in which a victim prefers the certainties of being subjugated by others to the uncertain “freedom” of being with family and old friends, but there have been tales told of some women who were rescued from Boko Haram, who found it difficult to adapt when they were taken back into their original communities. In fact, some of these women escaped, only to return to the Boko Haram community.

How is Boko Haram able to get access to sophisticated weapons and armoured tanks? I’m aware that the organisation extorts finances out of Northern Nigerian elites. Cattle rustling, looting and pillaging and other lawless activities could account for some of the enclave’s welfare, but it seems to me that they are functioning on the borders of three or four African nations (including Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroun). How are they able to sustain their mini state, without the support and collusion of some of the same elites from the region in question?